Wednesday, December 13, 2006
One of the Wellfleet facts I always tell guests is that 61% of our town is located within the National Seashore. President Kennedy was instrumental in the creation of this wonderful nature park in 1961. It includes pristine land in Wellfleet, Eastham, Truro and Provincetown. People who owned recently built homes, on parcels smaller than 3 acres, either sold them to the government in the 1970s or negotiated a sale that provided life use of the property or 25-year leases. The last leases have now come to term. At article in the New York Times of November 9, entitled “In Cape Cod’s Dunes, Something’s Growing besides Scrub Pine” describes how a change is occurring at some of the 600 private plots, where houses had been built prior to 1959. Brazen, rich, homeowners decide to teardown and rebuild on a grand scale, since they have realized no one will sue over such behavior. Sven and I saw one such house on a walk to Slough Pond last winter. We followed a path that led to an attractive mansion. Up on the deck, we realized the new, taller, house has a view of the ocean. We have also come across lovely confiscated homes, like this one to the right, that now belong to the government. They have not been removed, as the Seashore plan provided, perhaps due to a lack of funding. They sit in ruin, some obviously used by squatters in summer. Flashlights, old newspapers, empty wine bottles litter the floor. A sign tells us we should not be there: "US Property: No Trespassing." Some houses offer incredible views of ponds. Decaying deck boards, rotting beams, plants in gutters indicates no one has done any maintenance here for years. These houses are like old men on execution row: they sadly await termination. As we stand by the lakeshore and look back up at one confiscated home, I can only imagine how upset the owners must have been to lose such precious property. Had a similar experience happened to me, I would be absolutely furious at the new construction in the National Seashore, a place that was meant to be construction-free. It just goes to show what money can buy under the watch of the present administration ...
Posted by Alexandra Grabbe at 8:00 PM
What the National Seashore Has Become Under George Bush